HR professionals or owners are faced with my conflicting HR questions or situations everyday and how to solve the issues can vary depending on who you ask. Many business owners or HR professionals often ponder the same question, “Is there an agency or source where I can go to get guidance or assistance on these HR issues?”. Well now there is a solution! www.HumanResourceBlog.com is now available for any HR professional to come and share their thoughts, questions, or issues and to openly discuss the situation or issue at hand. Where else would you be able to go to find a community or center that has professionals sharing your same common problems and also having suggestions for you to possibly consider. Like they say, two brains is better than one. In this particular case, it’s two professionals better than one!
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An alliance between the Office of Disability Employment Policy and the Society of Human Resource Managers will provide more jobs Arkansas workers with disabilities.
The alliance is a first between a major human resource professional’s organization and the Office of Disability Employment Policy or ODEP, which was formed in 2001 to help to ensure that people with disabilities were fully integrated into the 21st century workforce. The ODEP is a policy agency in the US Department of Labor.
The recent alliance of the major human resource professionals and the US Dept of Labor will aim to provide more jobs for Arkansas workers with disabilities.
Speaking about the alliance, the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy, Roy Gizzard said, “This alliance formalizes the relationship we have had with the SHRM, benefiting SHRM as it serves its membership with the resources ODEP brings to the table and offering ODEP the opportunity for broader contact with human resource professionals.”
The Society of Human Resource Managers was formed in 1948 and since then has become the largest worldwide association that deals with human resource professionals. It has over 205,000 individual members and more that 550 affiliated chapters throughout over 100 countries worldwide. Its aim is to provide for the needs of human resource professionals by providing up to date, essential and comprehensive resources and information.
The alliance between the SHRM and the ODEP will aim to provide resources to people with disabilities. It will do this by concentrating on communication, outreach, training and education. It will supply IT assistance for workers with disabilities. The ODEP reported that even though opportunities for disabled workers have risen in recent year, people with disabilities are still underutilized in today’s labor force.
The partnership that has been formed between the two organizations will, through education, research and access, facilitate the hiring and recruiting of disabled workers.
When Howard Johnson’s was found guilty of underpaying their staff by not paying overtime to those who were salaried yet worked more than 40 hours a week, in the early 1980’s, you would have thought that companies would take note.
But Wal-Mart, Inc. is another company who has had to settle a suit with the US Dept of Labor after violating federal and Arkansas minimum wage laws. They now have to repay staff back wages, plus interest. This affects nearly 87,000 workers in Arkansas and throughout the United States and amounts to $33 million.
So how can you make sure you do not fall prey to such companies?
Well, as a general rule of thumb, if you earn less than $445 per week, or $23,000 per year, then you are entitled to overtime payments if you work more than 40 hours a week. This applies even if you are salaried.
The ruling regarding Wal-Mart, was that even though they employed trainee managers, intern and programmers on a salary basis, they were still entitled to overtime pay when they were required to work long hours. Even if their salary exceeded the above amounts, they were entitled to overtime as they did not have significant decision making powers.
Some companies try and get around the federal and Arkansas minimum wage laws by employing so called “managers” but do not give them decision making powers, or a salary that would come with them. The employees that worked for Wal-Mart were stated as being “non-exempt salaried” workers, which meant that they were entitled to overtime pay.
This can apply to any form of work, not just stores. If you are salaried, even if it amounts to over $23,660 per year, yet do not have decision-making powers within the store, department of division, then you may be entitled to overtime compensation if your hours amount to more than 40 per week.
In Arkansas, the change in the federal law in the 1990s also affected the labor law on hiring and reporting new employees as well. So employers in Arkansas, you also have to be up on all of your new hire forms, such as applications, reference check forms, payroll deduction forms, drug testing forms, and anything else that your human resource department might have new hired fill out and sign.
The reason is that the new hire reporting labor law in the state requires employers to provide a good bit of information on their new hires. You have to have handy such information as your federal employer identification number, or FEIN—which you don’t need to get from your new employees, obviously.
But you also need to know the employee’s social security number, their full name (first, middle and last), along with the first date of their hire, their date of birth, and their official state of hire. That last bit of information is important if you’re operating a multistate company and plan to have the employee working in more than one office in more than one state.
In Arkansas, the labor law for new hire reporting has entered the 21st century, allowing employers to file some of this information on new hires by the Internet, or by other electronic reporting methods such as faxes. Otherwise, employers can go the surefire old way of mailing in the new hire report to the state.
However you report your new hires, the labor law in Arkansas follows the basic federal guidelines and requires the info to be sent in no later than 20 days after the hiring. As with some other states, Arkansas offers a slightly different time frame if you do it electronically. Then, you can report your new hires in batches, twice a month, with no more than 16 days between the batches.